Monday, July 28, 2008

Back in Malawi

Never mind exploring the country of Malawi, flying on Air Malawi is an adventure of itself.

Granted, my return trip from Dar to Blantyre yesterday went very smoothly. But it's just a unique experience to fly on the national airline of a very small African country.

First of all, the airplane is totally unmarked. Pure white. And, as usual in Africa, there's no boarding gate - they load you up on a bus and take you out to the plane, where you walk up the steps, 1960s-style. When I got in the door, I noticed that my seat number corresponded to an empty aisle, where the bulkhead wall was separating 1st class from the rest of the plane. I asked the stewardess. "Oh, just sit anywhere in the back." Ok. Next, we made an unannounced stop in Nairobi, to pick up other passengers, adding about 3hrs on to the trip. The only thing the whole day confirming that Air Malawi actually existed were the seatback covers on the first class chairs.

But the views were amazing. (I'm so thankful for that stopover in Nairobi!) We flew directly over Kilimanjaro - which reminded me why I am an environmentalist. How can you not be, witnessing something so beautiful, so powerful - and yet knowing that we are changing that beautiful thing permanently (myself included by taking the plane). But the snows are still there, and I was thankful to see them.

Now, back in Blantyre, I'm busily trying to finish up the work here before I head home next Wednesday. I've already been twice to see the met service people here, and tomorrow I'm hopefully going up to the village (for the first time) to talk to some people there.

Malawi is what I always pictured Africa to be. Slow-paced, friendly people, dusty roads, and a lot of people struggling - full of hope - but struggling to make ends meet.

I'll try to have more in the next few days.

Who owns this plane, anyway? =)

Free A/C for the pilot??


Kili with Mt. Meru in the background.

Kili on the way back from Nairobi

Landing again in Malawi.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

It's amazing what kind of views those "unexpected stops" create! Can't wait to hear about your trip to the village!